The recently-concluded Faysal Bank T20 Tournament unfortunately killed the true essence of Twenty20 cricket, where high-scoring matches with boundaries aplenty is very much the norm.
The conditions in Islamabad and Rawalpindi were hardly ideal for the crash, bang and wallop format with batsmen struggling in testing conditions.
All over the world, T20 cricket is played on true pitches where batsman can play their shots freely while bowlers have to work hard to tighten the noose.
But it seems that Pakistan Cricket Board has a unique way of ascertaining things; this was not the first time a T20 event was held in bowler friendly conditions.
Numbers speak for themselves and there can’t be a better reflection of what happened when one dwells into the details. The opening five matches of the event were washed out but one can say that no one can fight with nature and the organisers can perhaps be excused for weather related constraints.
On the other hand a glaring and eye-opening fact is the amount of low-scoring matches played in the competition.
The number of legitimate deliveries in T20 format is 120 and one expects teams to score at least over the 120-run mark, (six runs an over) with ease yet on 24 instances various teams, including some powerful batting units, failed to reach the mark.
The reason for the batting failure was primarily due to the pitches and overall conditions of the venues that were not ideal for
this form of the game. The cold weather did not help either.
The final was luckily a welcome change in the trend albeit it came a little too late, the scores were again low but the excitement was palpable in presence of leading stars of the national team.
Mohammad Hafeez-led Lahore Lions chased down the 131-run target on the last ball of the match against Misbahul Haq-led Faisalabad Wolves.
In the days ahead, the PCB needs to stage such high-profile tournaments in Karachi, Lahore or Multan where conditions are more suited for the shortest format of the game compared to Islamabad and Rawalpindi. This edition of T20 tournament was not the kind of preparation the players especially the willow wielders wanted ahead of the Asia Cup and World T20.
The writer is a sport reporter at The Express Tribune
Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2014.
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